Many people I know desire to develop their relationship with God. This never happens instantly. Just like with any human relationship, I must cultivate it daily. There are however, some situations that God uses often to speed up my spiritual growth.
When God brought my wife Lei to New Zealand, she got separated from family, close friends, and ministry connections. She experienced being lonely and homesick. She made the decision to use this time for more prayer and deeper bible meditation. She was finally able to finish reading the whole bible!
God orchestrated my wife’s time of isolation. She developed a deeper level of spiritual maturity. In God’s grand design, He was preparing her to be a pastor’s wife!
The following are circumstances that I would rather avoid. But if I respond the right way, it will deepen my intimacy with God like never before:
1. When I’m Facing Multiple Trials Simultaneously
When several trials happen simultaneously, I realize my need for God faster. I know I couldn’t handle them all. So I go to God more. I ask for wisdom and discernment. I meditate on His word to search for His leading. I also ask godly people to pray for me.
Trials that happen all at the same time break my self-dependence. It teaches me that I need God every step of the way. This produces a spiritual “growth spurt” that brings me to the next level.
2. When I’m in Isolation for an Extended Period
My life can get very busy with various tasks and responsibilities. There are deadlines to keep, and people to meet. When God isolates me from people, it usually means He wants me to focus more on Him.
I’ve talked to a good number of people who broke up with their boyfriends/girlfriends. Suddenly, their schedule is more free. God used those situations so they could spend more time with Him. Some admitted that their previous relationships actually became distractions to their spiritual lives.
Isolation can mean that I have more time to be with God. And recognize that God is all that I need. It can be a time when it’s more quiet. Then I could hear God’s voice clearer.
3. When I’m Waiting with No Definite End in Sight
I don’t like to wait. I want my prayers answered ASAP. I want to know which decision to take. I want to see progress with my goals. Waiting can be uncomfortable and frustrating. Especially when there’s not timetable!
Waiting doesn’t mean that God isn’t doing anything. He can be preparing me, or the other person involved, or the circumstances. I have to trust God that His timing is perfect.
In the meantime, I delight myself in the Lord. I maximize everyday in joyful anticipation that God has my best interest in mind.
4. When I’m Offended by People Close to Me
It’s painful when I’m disappointed by people closest to me. I have higher expectations from them. I say to myself, “They should have known better!”
God uses these as opportunities for me grow deeply rooted Christ-like character. The more I allow the Spirit to lead my response, the faster my spiritual development happens. Praying rather than reacting, is the better road to take.
5. When I’m Discouraged by Failure
I hope to be successful in every venture or goal I put my mind into. I don’t want my time and effort to go to waste. I don’t see the value of failure. Until I start reflecting.
When I fail, it slows me down to see the big picture. How could I have done it differently? Ultimately, it makes me depend on God more. It humbles me and teaches me lessons I can apply the next time around. Sometimes, perseverance is taught in the context of failed circumstances.
Though I prefer to avoid these situations, God has used them repeatedly to bring me closer to Him. The next time I face them, I must start seeing them as opportunities from God.
The bible states that undesirable circumstances ultimately mature me. James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Posted on: November 20, 2014
Photo: © Depositphotos.com/Jaykayl
What situation has God used to grow your spiritual walk significantly in the past? Share your inputs below.